The store was almost empty at noon on Thursday. A few shoppers checked the latest price tags on the shelves and then walked away with empty bags, while employees complained that sales had fallen too low as prices “went crazy”.
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Dairy products all soared, regardless of brand, after Turkey’s National Milk Board adjusted the benchmark price for raw milk by more than 30%.
The price of a kilo of white cheese, a staple of Turkish breakfast tables, has gone from 80 Turkish liras (about 4.27 US dollars) to at least 120 liras, while a kilo of old cheddar reaches 195 liras on some brands.
“I reduce my purchase as much as possible. If I buy cottage cheese, I don’t look at cheddar cheese or any other product,” a mother told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The woman said she gave up on buying a 200ml six-pack of organic milk after it went from 30 to 53 lira, even though it was her son’s basic diary.
“Prices are skyrocketing. We can’t do much with these wages,” she lamented, noting that the monthly minimum wage for millions of workers in the country is 4,250 lira.
A cheese counter attendant complained about the sharp drop in sales, especially after the latest price hikes for dairy products.
“If the good old days had remained, you couldn’t find a moment to interview me because of the crowds…you see, now there’s hardly anyone because people’s purchasing power has gone down “, he said, refusing to give his name.
Sevda Alkin, a regular at the market, intended to buy a few bottles of milk for her two grandchildren, but she abandoned the plan after finding that the price of the chosen brand was 22 lira, against 15 lira a month ago.
“My grandsons drink a glass of milk every night, but it seems we can’t afford it anymore,” she said.
Rosalina is a foreigner who came to Turkey 22 years ago for a decent job with a good salary. Now she plans to return to her country, as her income has long since shrunk in the face of rising inflation.
Turkey’s annual inflation jumped to 69.97% in April, hitting a two-decade high, the Turkish Statistical Institute announced on May 5.
The highest annual price increase was recorded in the transport sector with 105.86 percent, while the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 89.1 percent, he said.
Turkey has been in unprecedented financial difficulties for decades, with the Turkish lira losing half of its value last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has also aggravated the situation, pushing commodity prices to new highs.